Terry Crews Addresses Lawsuit Against Adam Venit Over Sexual Assault

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Actor and former NFL player Terry Crews filed a lawsuit last week stemming from an encounter at a party in 2016 when he says a high-powered Hollywood agent groped him.

Crews tweeted about the assault in October, prompted by the women who came forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment and the backlash they faced.

“Once the Weinstein story broke, and these women were coming out and saying what he did, and I just kept hearing … ‘Oh boy, these women, here they come, they just want attention and a payday,’ ” he said. “And I got angry. I got really angry, because I said, ‘They’re being dismissed, like this stuff is happening, it happens, it happened to me.’ ”

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor says Adam Venit, a talent agent at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, made sexual gestures with his tongue at him and later grabbed his genitals. Crews spoke with officials at the agency soon after but was ignored, he said. The lawsuit says “it is now time to hold Venit accountable for his sexual predatory behavior and to hold WME accountable for its conduct in condoning, ratifying, and encouraging” that behavior.

Crews was one of the first male actors in Hollywood to speak out during the Me Too movement. He was recognized last week as part of “The Silence Breakers,” the group of men and women collectively named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.

NPR’s Michel Martin spoke with Crews about the incident, how he became an activist and why he is fighting to hold people in Hollywood accountable.

Interview Highlights

On why he spoke out after the Weinstein allegations surfaced

I remember just feeling like ‘No, somebody’s got to support them. Somebody’s got to back these people up, because they’re about to get shamed. They’re about to get thrown to the wolves.’ And I said, ‘I’ve got to back these women up because they are going through the toughest time in their life, and it happened to me.’ That was the big thing, I had to describe what it feels like — why should you come forward? Because you could lose everything. You are going to be ostracized. And everyone was like ‘They’re just lying, and they want this,’ and I’m like ‘What’s the reason to lie?’ You know? There’s no reason.

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